An underwater art exhibition has debuted on the world’s second-largest artificial reef, the 523-foot Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg, which is located in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) about seven miles south of Key West.
On Sunday 3 April, divers finished installing a dozen photo illustrations on the Vandenberg’s weather deck, which sits more than 90 feet below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean. Each art piece is 3-foot by 4.5-foot.
Created by Austrian art photographer Andreas Franke, the images are encased in plexiglass and mounted in stainless steel frames sealed with silicone. They are a continuation of the artist’s Sinking World series, which debuted on the Vandenberg in 2011, two years after the former Air Force missile tracking ship was sunk as an artificial reef.
According to the artist, the manipulated photographs depict a flamboyant era of European style and cultural history. Among visuals are women gossiping over a picnic and other ladies engaged in a leisurely stroll twirling umbrellas.
How to reach the exhibition: To dive the Vandenberg artificial reef, UK visitors can book the Morning Wreck and Reef tour operated daily at 8.30 a.m. by the Key West Dive Center. Prices start from $85 per person (around £60) for the four and a half hour trip. Equipment rental is available at extra cost.
About the Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS): In its 25th anniversary year, the FKNMS protects 2,900 square nautical miles of waters including the world’s third-largest barrier reef and stretches from Biscayne National Park near Miami to the Dry Tortugas National Park, 70 miles west of Key West in the Florida Keys. It is one of 14 marine protected areas in the National Marine Sanctuary System and within its boundaries lie spectacular, nationally significant marine resources, historic shipwrecks and other archaeological treasures, extensive seagrass beds, mangrove-fringed islands and more than 6,000 species of marine life.
Travel to the Florida Keys: America As You Like It (020 8742 8299 / americaasyoulikeit.com) offers a seven-night fly-drive package to the Florida Keys from £1,235 per person. The price includes return flights from London Heathrow to Miami with Virgin Atlantic, seven days fully inclusive economy car hire, two nights’ accommodation at Hilton Key Largo and five nights at The Gates Key West. All accommodation is room only and the price is based on two adults sharing.
Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary information: floridakeys.noaa.gov
Florida Keys diving information: www.fla-keys.com/diving
For further information on the Florida Keys & Key West, visit: www.fla-keys.co.uk